The Dutch market is set to be opened up to other parties for online gambling, lotteries, poker, sports betting and bingo by 2015 according to plans outlined by junior justice minister Fred Teeven to the Dutch parliament. According to Teeven, the aim under the new government’s plan is to provide a “responsible, safe and modern gambling policy”.
On Saturday the Dutch government echoed a sentiment held by many U.S. states currently looking into regulating online gambling, they wanted to grant licenses for internet gambling and lift restrictions because thousands of Dutch players were ignoring them anyway. By changing the ban it would allow for more oversight and a safer environment for players.
The Dutch has gone all the way to the European Union’s highest court defending its rights to ban online gambling in the past. It successfully defended itself against Ladbrokes and Betfair last year at the European Union Court of Justice but the new coalition government that took over in October sees things a little different. Jaap Oosterveer, a spokesman for the Dutch ministry of public safety and justice has stated, “It is a big shift (in policy), but this is a new government with a more liberal approach.”
Currently the gaming industry is run by the state monopoly casino operator Holland Casino. Teeven is calling for more transparency and competition in the gaming industry. It is thought that around 200,000 people are already playing online poker which is technically illegal and this relaxation in policy could bring in around $14 million a year for the Dutch government.